FG Frees 150 Inmates, Raises N585m to Settle Fines  - The Top Society

FG Frees 150 Inmates, Raises N585m to Settle Fines 

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In a move to decongest correctional facilities nationwide, the Federal Government announced on Thursday that it had raised N585 million towards settling fines for inmates.

Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, represented by Dr. Anayo Romanus-Nzekwe, disclosed the development in Kano during the release of 150 inmates whose fines were cleared by the government.

The Interior Minister, expressing concern over the plight of over 4,000 inmates in detention due to unpaid fines, had previously pledged to clear fines totaling approximately N500 million. The release of 150 inmates from the Maximum Security Custodial Centre, Janguza in Kano State, marked the initial step in fulfilling this commitment.

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Speaking through Romanus-Nzekwe, the minister emphasized that the government aimed to free a total of 4,068 inmates across the country in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“The Federal Government wants to decongest custodial centres and make them humane for proper reformation and rehabilitation of offenders to take place. 

“The released inmates were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment with the option of fine and compensation and could not afford to pay their fines and are languishing in custody. 

“The sum of N13.4m was spent in Kano State out of the N585m raised by philanthropic individuals, groups and corporate bodies, as part of their corporate social responsibility, for this purpose nationwide.’’ 

Inmates with fines and compensation not exceeding N1 million were deemed eligible for the government’s gesture.

“We have given the inmates requisite training aimed at impacting their lives functionally and equipping them with the knowledge and skills for their self-reliance upon discharge,” he added.

Each of the freed inmates was granted N10,000 to facilitate their return to their respective homes and villages.

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The minister urged the public and communities to welcome the returning inmates without stigmatization, emphasizing the importance of providing a second chance for them to reintegrate into society.

“Stay off crimes and join hands with our father, President Bola Tinubu, to make Nigeria a great nation. 

“Abide by the instructions and training you have received while in custody and be good ambassadors in your communities,” he said to the inmates.

The Controller General of Corrections, Mr. Halliru Nababa, commended the minister for securing the release of the 150 inmates, acknowledging the positive impact on the lives of numerous inmates nationwide.

Simultaneously, in Gombe State, the Chief Judge, Justice Halima Mohammed, on Thursday, said

“A total of 141 inmates were released from the Gombe Minimum Custodial Centre. 

“At the Billiri Custodial Centre, 10 inmates were released, 20 were released on bail, and 11 others were released because they were found to be of good behaviour. Making a total of 41 inmates to be released from Billiri Custodial Centre. At the end of the exercise, across five custodial centres in the state, a total of 182 inmates were released through the Criminal Justice Reform Committee.” 

The release followed the recommendation of the Criminal Justice Reform Committee, with the Chief Judge urging the freed individuals to maintain good behavior and patience while awaiting court sentencing.

“Criminal Justice Reform Committee commends the Gombe State Government for supporting the committee’s exercise, which is geared towards decongesting the custodial centres,” the CJ said.

The Comptroller of the Gombe State Command of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Lawan Gusau, expressed appreciation to the Chief Judge and the Criminal Justice Reform Committee for their efforts in facilitating the release of inmates in the state.

“We are grateful for this exercise, and it is the first time a total of 182 inmates are being released because of the compassion and service delivery of Justice Halima Mohammed,” he said.

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